Maxie Price “was always a go-getter when it came to making money,” one of his sons said.
By Michelle E. Shaw
Whether he was dressed as a giant pilgrim, wishing potential customers a “Happy Trucksgiving,” or shedding fake tears into his infamous crying towel, Maxie Price would do almost anything to sell you a car. Some of his commercials were just north of ridiculous, but that was alright with him.
“What you saw was a full Maxie Price production,” said his son Scott Price. “The whole deal was Maxie Price, and he was a larger than life character.”
Maxie Price may have made it look like it was all fun and games, but he believed in hard work, his sons said. His hardest work, however, came after a violent car accident in 2005, when his spine was bruised and he was left with no feeling below the neck, said his son Maxie Price Jr. After the accident, the elder Price moved from his Snellville home to Florida.
Maxie O. Price Sr. died Sunday in St. Augustine Beach, Fla., from complications related to the accident. He was 77.
A funeral is scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday at Tom M. Wages, Snellville, which is also in charge of arrangements. His body will be entombed in a private family ceremony at Westview Cemetery, Atlanta.
Price was born in Fairfax, Ala., but he graduated from Roosevelt High School in Atlanta. He took a few classes at Georgia State University but wanted to get back into sales, something he’d gotten good at as a child.
“He had a magazine trade business when he was very young,” Scott Price said. “He’d go around and collect old magazines from his neighbors — you know, when they were like a nickel or something — and he’d offer them a chance to look through what he had, maybe something they hadn’t read, and he’d sell it to them for a couple of pennies, or something. He was always a go-getter when it came to making money.”
The senior Price worked for a car dealer before he had his own used car lot in the late 1950s in the Decatur area. In the ’60s he purchased a Chrysler/Plymouth dealership, which is what moved the Price family to Lawrenceville, said Maxie Price Jr. In the ’70s an economic downturn caused the elder Price to lose almost everything he’d earned, but in the late ’70s and early ’80s he got back on his feet through real estate sales, and in the mid- to late ’80s bought what is now Maxie Price Chevrolet.
The dealership, which is currently run by Maxie Price Jr. and his brother, Scott Price, was a source of pride for its namesake. Maxie Price Sr. knew he had to get people to his Lawrenceville car dealership, and he used wacky television commercials to lure potential customers. The commercials were so original, many didn’t have a script, Scott Price said.
“The film crew would get there and he’d say, ‘What are we gonna do for this commercial today?’ and that’s how it would start,” Price said.
In addition to his sons, Price is survived by his wife of 56 years, Margaret Mays Price of St. Augustine Beach; daughters, Julie Price Pendleton and Sheryl Price Turkia, both of Athens; sister, Peggy Price Colley of Bethlehem; brother, Julian Ross Price of Austell; and 13 grandchildren.
After a rough week in Washington, President Barack Obama came to rainy Atlanta on Sunday to be with a friendlier crowd, becoming the first sitting president to give the commencement address at Morehouse College.